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Archive for August, 2012

Last weekend Gordie and I took a two day trip on the motorcycle to visit our daughter and family, see the new home they purchased, visit friends in Idaho and just generally enjoy some time together.  Our travels took us through miles and miles of wheat ranches which are currently in full harvest.  Beautiful – the golden fields stretching out on both sides of the road.  The heads of wheat were heavy with grain and swaying gently in a soft breeze.  Combines were making their slow way around and around the fields, cutting wide swaths to glean the crop the ranchers had been cultivating for many months.

I have many memories of my grandfather’s wheat ranch in the Horse Heaven Hills where I would spend part of my summer helping grandma with the meals for hired hands and when the work was done for the day, walking hand and hand with grandpa out to the corrals to take care of the livestock.

Grandpa always had a herd of Herford cattle and four or five good saddle horses.  I learned to ride on summer evenings when grandpa would take time from his chores to saddle up old Eagle, a red roan, and let me ride around the corral while he fed and watered and did whatever else needed doing, dragging it out until dusk to allow me the maximum amount of time.

The best harvest always takes place after an attentive planting and nurturing season.  The wheat ranchers don’t rush the process.  They know the routine and follow it faithfully to assure a ripe and ready field before the combines are called in.

Nurturing a child (and any other size human for that matter) takes time.  You can’t rush it.  You have to follow the process to assure a well rounded adult ready to face the challenges of life. 

The hours my grandpa spent taught me so much more than being able to straddle a gentle horse and ride inside a corralled area.  I learned patience, confidence, bonding, love, and a great appreciation for a dusky evening filled with the scents of hay and horse sweat.  My grandpa and I had so many conversations about life in general as I grew older because I had learned to trust him as a child.  We had such a special bond of love because of time spent out by the corral.

Today I apply those lessons in my Christian witness.  When I meet someone who needs spiritual nurturing and guidance, I start by walking hand in hand with them to a quiet place where we can communicate.  I don’t just hand them the Bible, I open it and share from my own experience – much like grandpa did with the horses.  When I walk away to do my other chores, I keep a watchful eye and I’m close enough to step in if they need it.  I don’t try to rush things because I want them to have plenty of time to gain confidence.  As we spend time together my heart falls in love with each and every soul God calls me to minister to. 

I think of the rich harvest my grandpa provided for me and I thank God for the lesson in his summer evening ritual that took me into the barnyard and opened up a wonderland for a young girl with blonde braids, a heart for horses and a love for that wonderful man.

Grandpa passed away several years ago but his lessons live in me.  May others say the same about me when I am gone.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  Co 4:2-6

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On Sunday, August 5th, I will celebrate my 45th wedding anniversary.  I honestly can’t believe it has been 45 years.  I sometimes still feel like the innocent young girl with love blinded eyes that I was in 1967.  Then again, I more often feel like the very experienced, not quite so love blinded wife that I am today.

I remember things I used to think were so darn cute in our early years.  Those same things drive me nuts today.  Things like the fact that he still can’t make a bed to where it doesn’t look like someone is still in it.  Or how he still sneaks drinks right from the carton.  How he leaves a used knife on top of the butter dish in the refrigerator because he doesn’t want to fill up the sink with a bunch of dirty ones.  And there’s his amazing sense of where we are at any given time when traveling (he never gets lost) which is offset by  his 45 year can’t-find-the-dishwasher disability.

We’ve traveled a lot of miles in our 45 years – through fields of new babies, narrow roads of grief, highways of financial stress, up hills strewn with misunderstanding, down valleys of laughter, around corners of angry words and right through intersections of intense love that met moments of ‘who is this man and what am I doing here?”

We have a son we won’t meet until we get to heaven, two daughters and a son who showed us heaven on earth (as well as a little of the other place when they were teens).  We’ve gained a plethora of gifted grandchildren. 

Our house is the same one we moved into on our wedding day, but it is now a home.  We’ve known a veritable kennel of dogs and cats, had a barn full of horses and mules, grown a variety of crops, mowed billions of blades of grass, pulled, poisoned and put up with every weed known to man.

We have more stuff than we could possibly remember or find if we needed it.  (Our children will hate us when we are gone.) 

We have seen so many changes over the years I can’t possibly name them. 

But by God’s grace, there are so many things that haven’t changed.  He still makes me laugh over the dumbest things.  He still makes my heart beat faster when he kisses me.  I still beam with pride over his work ethic, honesty and ability to do anything he puts his mind to.  His heart is still soft.  His mind is still sharp.  His habits are still annoying.

Today I tried to imagine not being married and I found I don’t have the slightest idea what that was like.  “We” is so much more than “I” ever was. 

Am I saying it’s been 45 years of bliss?  Of course not.  Every journey is a lot of work.  The best ones are those where you had milestones when you didn’t think you’d make it but you did.  You don’t feel like you’ve accomplished a worthwhile task if you don’t have some sore muscles afterward. 

After 45 years I’ve figured out that what hasn’t changed so far probably ain’t gonna.  I’ve discovered new things can still happen in an old marriage.  There’s still some of that fresh faced young boy in the man and some of that blushing young girl in the woman. God has blessed us mightily, buoyed us up in some tough times, given some great golden moments, helped us laugh at ourselves and sort the major from the minor.

In retrospect, even the bad has been good in the long run.  Looking ahead I’m just thankful that we are still looking ahead together.

 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Eph 5:31

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